Inundation threat over Vijayawada
The threat of massive flooding loomed large over Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada city and hundreds of villages in Krishna and Guntur districts with the water level in the Prakasam barrage across the Krishna river reaching the maximum level today.india Updated: Oct 06, 2009 17:46 IST
The threat of massive flooding loomed large over Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada city and hundreds of villages in Krishna and Guntur districts with the water level in the Prakasam barrage across the Krishna river reaching the maximum level on Monday.
The inflows in the barrage have reached a record million cusecs, inundating parts of Vijayawada located on the banks of the river. Thousands of people are still being evacuated from villages downstream known as Lanka villages.
The weakening embankments at few points along the river course have threatened to inundate vast areas and authorities have mobilised 300,000 sand bags to stop flooding.
"There is three to four feet water in some areas along the river in Vijayawada city and this may go up to six to seven feet later in the day. We have already moved out of the area near the river," Suresh Kumar, a resident said.
Residential areas within about two kilometres of the river bank are most threatened. About 200,000 people from these areas have moved to safer places.
Villages near Vijayawada along the river bank have also come under water. The authorities have evacuated 40,000 people from these villages and shifted them to relief camps. Vijayawada is one of the biggest cities in the state with 1.2 million population.
Irrigation department officials said the barrage faced no threat even if the inflows crossed a million cusecs. The barrage has never faced such massive inflows in its history and officials termed it as the worst floods in Krishna river in 100 years.
Authorities in Vijayawada, a major trading hub, and other parts of Krishna and Guntur districts forcibly evacuated people to prevent a situation like Kurnool, which had been submerged two days gao and is still under four to five feet of water.
Krishna District Collector Piyush Kumar said army, navy and National Disaster Response Force were ready to rescue people with 100 boats and six helicopters in the district.
The vehicular traffic on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway came to a standstill as the highway was under water at several points.
Though the officials have put the death toll at 37, this could go up as rescue workers are yet to reach several marooned villages in the two worst-hit districts. Hundreds of people have been trapped on roof-tops without food and water for three days, still waiting for help.
The floods triggered by heavy rains last week have inundated 400 villages, affecting a population of over 1.8 million and rendering 400,000 people homeless in five districts. Over 50,000 houses have been damaged while authorities estimate crop losses in over half a million acres.
Over 1,000 personnel of army, navy and Air Force along with national disaster response force continued rescue and relief operations with the help of 16 helicopters and 257 boats. They also continued to drop food and drinking water sachets in marooned areas.